February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month
Original Story by Jamie Valmon/Parenting blogger The Star-Ledger
on February 06, 2013 at 9:47 AM, updated February 06, 2013 at 12:03 PM
Not to rain on anyone’s love parade during the month of Cupid and cute Valentine’s Day cards, but I want as many people as possible to know that February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of dating violence than any other age group. Let’s not forget about girls who do not report being a victim of domestic violence. Yes, I said domestic violence. The term is not exclusive to married couples or couples living together. It refers to any violent intimate relationship. And girls are not the only ones who are victimized — a percentage of teenage boys also suffer from teen dating violence. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), victims of teen dating violence are more likely to attempt suicide, use drugs, binge drink, and develop an eating disorder. Teen dating violence could lead to poor academic performance and depression. Teens who have suffered from dating violence are more likely to experience the same kind of abuse as adults. More information and statistics can be found here.
It is never too late to initiate a conversation with your child about dating. Do not assume they are learning all that they need to know in health class. Much like math or science, the information is probably only sinking in their brains enough to help them pass their tests. Teenagers should be educated on the different kinds of abuse, such as verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual. Many teens do not know when they are being verbally or emotionally abused, and they might even shrug it off as constructive criticism. Not everyone recognizes that violence does not have to involve hitting, and it can happen on social media and via text message, not just face-to-face.
If your child has a girl or boyfriend, it is important for your child to have an open line of communication with you. This way, you would know how serious the relationship is and if it should be of any concern to you. If your child is resistant to sit-down talks, casually bring the topic up during dinner or a car ride. I suggest that you even mention this month is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, ask your child if his or her school is doing anything for it, and let the conversation take its natural course. Reach out for help if in fact you do suspect that your child is in an abusive relationship. Encourage your child to speak up about it, and offer your support and guidance.
Depending on your child’s personality and the kind of relationship you have with him or her, it might be difficult for both of you to express your feelings to each other. However, a discussion about teen dating violence should not be swept under the rug. You are supposed to protect your child from harm to the best of your ability and teach your child right from wrong. As resistant as your child might be to talking about anything personal with you, especially when it comes to dating, I think you have to be that much more persistent in having these kinds of conversations.
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original post: http://blog.nj.com/parenting_impact/print.html?entry=/2013/02/february_is_national_teen_dati.html